Harrisburg, PA -- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) State Parks Director John Hallas today announced that a number of operational changes are being made at Beltzville State Park in Carbon County to address safety and resource issues related to overcrowding that occurs on weekends and when the weather is favorable.
“Pennsylvania state parks, including Beltzville, are intended for high-density recreation, which does present some challenges during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, as we are seeing significant increases in visitors looking to stay cool and enjoy the health benefits of the outdoors,” Hallas said. “We are taking a number of steps at Beltzville to minimize issues on really busy days so that we can continue to provide access to outdoor opportunities.”
State park attendance statewide was up by more than 26 percent in 2020 with Beltzville having a more than 32 percent increase.
DCNR is implementing the following measures to help alleviate some of the issues related to the popularity of Beltzville including:
- Adding additional portable toilets and dumpsters for trash disposal;
- Providing trash bags to visitors to use to properly dispose of trash;
- Adding additional signage outlining rules, regulations, and courteous behavior in state parks, including reminders that alcoholic beverages are prohibited, swimming is only permitted in designated swimming areas, loud noise/music should be kept to a minimum, and to please clean up after yourself and pets;
- Bringing in staff from other state parks and central office to assist and working with local and state law enforcement entities to increase officer presence on weekends and holidays;
- Implementing weekend closures from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day at the Wild Creek, Christman Trail, Evergreen, and Cove parking areas to prevent further damage and degradation to the resource;
- Discontinuing the use of the soccer fields for overflow parking;
- Closing Pohopoco Drive at Green Street and Pine Run Road when the day use area reaches capacity. Visitors will not be permitted to walk in once the day use area closes;
- Requiring buses to obtain prior written approval from the park manager due to limited parking;
- Informing travelers and potential visitors on the PA Turnpike via electronic signs that the park is closed or near capacity; and
- Making 7:00 P.M. announcements that the park closes at sunset so guests can begin the process of cleaning up and departing.
Hallas noted that visitors can take actions that will help keep state parks safe, including:
- Don’t park in undesignated parking areas as this impacts safety, natural resources, and nearby residents.
- Carry out what you carry in and dispose of trash properly in bins and dumpsters.
- Wear a mask in the restrooms, buildings, and outdoors if you can’t maintain six feet of distance from other people.
- Swim only in designated swimming beach areas or pools at state parks.
- Be courteous to other visitors and abide by noise and alcohol restrictions, and other park rules and regulations.
- Ride ATVs and other motorized vehicles only on designated ATV trails.
A Visitor Use and Impact Study with Penn State University researchers is near completion to examine many issues related to high use at Beltzville State Park on holidays and weekends in the summer.
The land and lake at Beltzville State Park are owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and managed for recreation by DCNR and the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The lease with the corps, as well as the source of federal funds used to obtain the lands at Beltzville, require that no person be excluded from public use of the premises.
More information about Pennsylvania State Park rules and regulations is available on the DCNR website.
MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717-877-6315
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